Voting Presentations

An event can be hosted at your site -- see Notable Software's Lectures & Workshops page for further information.

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Houston Texas City Council Ad Hoc Committee's Public Hearing on Election Procedures and Voting Systems, July 9-10, 2001.  Committee chair: Mayor Pro-Tem and District D Councilmember Jew Don Boney, Jr.  Testimony provided on both days by Rebecca Mercuri and other experts.

U.S. House Science Committee, "Full Committee Hearing on Improving Voting Technology: The Role of Standards," Mau 21, 2001. Rebecca Mercuri's testimony can be viewed at: * The hearing charter and testimonies by the other witnesses, along with the archived webcast, can be accessed via (scan down to May 22). 

House State Government Committee Public Hearing on Election and Voter Registration Issues, March 15, 2001, Bucks County Courthouse, Doylestown, PA.  Committee chair: Pennsylvania State Representative Paul Clymer.  Rebecca Mercuri's testimony is available here.

Panel Sessions

DRE Security and Disabled Voting Accessibility, panelist and member of steering committee, US-ACM Workshop on Voter Verified Election Systems, Denver, CO, July 28-29, 2003.

Comparative Analysis of the Voting Systems in Use During Elections and Recommendations Under Consideration for Improvement, Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL), 24th Annual Conference, Ottawa, Canada, September 30, 2002.  Session Chair: Albert Lenge (Connecticut Election Enforcement Commission).  Panelists:  Rebecca Mercuri, Daniel Guérin (Elections Canada), Douglas Jones (University of Iowa), Kevin Kennedy (Wisconsin Elections Board).

Standardizing Integrity, Secrecy, and Robustness: Features, WEST 2002 (Workshop on Election Standards and Technology) sponsored by the Caltech-MIT / Voting Technology Project. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C., January 31 - February 1, 2002. Panelists: Kim Alexander (California Voter Foundation), Stephen Berger (IEEE), Lou Bograd (ACLU), Rebecca Mercuri, Robert Richie (Center for Voting and Democracy).

How to Fix an Internet Election, 27th Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop, April, 2001.  Session Chair: Marianne Mueller (Sun Microsystems).  Panelists:  Rebecca Mercuri, David Jefferson (Compaq Systems), Peter Neumann (SRI International Computer Science Lab).

Computerized Voting: A New Solution for a New Generation of Voters, A National Debate Sponsored by the Democracy Online Project of George Washington University, National Press Club, Washington, D.C., January 18, 2001.  Rebecca Mercuri's formal comments, presented as part of Panel I, are available in their entirety *here* (along with an excellent photo), and were published in "Voting in the Information Age: The Debate Over Technology." 

Security and Auditability of Electronic Vote Tabulation Systems, Session Chair, 16th National Computer Security Conference, September, 1993.  Panelists: Dr. Gary Greenhalgh (MicroVote Corp.), Dr. Peter Neumann (SRI International), Roy Saltman (NIST), Dr. Lance Hoffman (George Washington University). (Proceedings with full text of papers from this panel session available from NIST, Gaithersburg MD  20899,

*Electronic Voting -- Threats to Democracy, Session Chair, 3rd Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy, March 1993.  Panelists: Dr. Irwin Mann (New York University), Roy Saltman (NIST), Dr. Michael Shamos, Esq. (Carnegie-Mellon University), Eva Waskell (CPSR).  (Full text of the panelist papers is available at the session link.)

Lectures by Rebecca Mercuri

E-voting in an Untrustworthy World --
In the rush to solve problems that emerged from Florida's Presidential election dispute in 2000, computerized voting systems have been deployed in unprecedented numbers. During 2004, over 80% of the ballots were counted electronically, nearly all of these without any independent audit of the results. Vendors and promoters of e-voting systems have made promises of reliability, accuracy and accessibility. Yet each election adds to the growing body of evidence of malfunctions, including irretrievable loss of vote data and county-wide denials of service. For example, in Pennsylvania, massive problems with one manufacturer's voting systems later resulted in their decertification by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, when it was determined that the equipment had violated numerous state election laws. In addition to these issues, this talk will explore the vulnerabilities of electronic voting systems to insider and outsider attacks, along with the possibilities and ramifications of large-scale vote fraud in the 2004 election and beyond.

Computer Science & Engineering Department Seminar Series, Lehigh University, November 10, 2005.
Delaware Valley Mensa, Conshohocken, PA, January 9, 2005.

Distinguished Lecture, Arizona Center for Information Science and Technology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, Dec. 8, 2004.

Providence Section of the IEEE, Seekonk, MA, September 28, 2004.

Technology and Society Forum Series, New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Brunswick, NJ, September 23, 2004.

University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, September 20, 2004.
E-voting: Perils and Promises --
Electronic voting has dramatically increased in use, in part due to unsubstantiated promises of reliability, accuracy and accessibility made by vendors and other promoters of these systems. Instead of resolving election problems, serious issues involving equipment malfunctions, usability, potential for large-scale fraud, compromises to voter privacy, and the inability to perform an independent recount, have been raised. Numerous studies have revealed flaws that show the computer-based systems to be inferior to, and more costly than, older mechanical and paper-based ballot technologies. Backdoors and loopholes have been exploited in the voting system standards and certification programs, allowing up to 10% of election equipment to fail on election day, and thwarting the adoption and deployment of reasonable verified voting methods. This talk replaces myths and misinformation with hard facts about e-voting, and offers suggestions for features that could be implemented to better secure cast ballots and ensure the correctness of vote totals.

W.M. Keck Foundation, Interdisciplinary Science Lecture, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR, October 25, 2004.

West Chester University, West Chester, PA, October 21, 2004.

Princeton University School of Engineering, Princeton, NJ, October 14, 2004.

Keynote, Il Votobit, Leon, Spain, October 7, 2004.

Haverford League of Women Voters, Haverford, PA, May 25, 2004.

Voting in an e-Democracy, Symposium sponsored by the Yale University Faculty of Engineering and the Yale Office of New Haven and State Affairs, New Haven, CT, April 2, 2004.

Examining Voting Systems, 2004 Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, Expert Security Seminar Series -- Filtering Out the Noise, Indianapolis, IN, April 22, 2004

Electronic Voting in Massachusetts: Problems and Prospects conference, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA, February 28, 2004.
Pushing Forward: Voting System Standards --
Panelist, “The Machinery of Electronic Voting,” 31st Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop, Asilomar, CA, April 20, 2005.
Co-organizer and Panelist, “New Standards for Elections: A forum on technical and non-technical requirements for voting systems,” Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, February 12, 2005.
The Electronic Voting Enigma: Hard Problems in Computer Science --
Although it might appear that modern technology should be able to provide secure, auditable, anonymous elections, this turns out to be a difficult problem for computer scientists. Vote collection and tabulation involves processes for system security, program provability, user authentication, and product reliability, all of which harbor inherent flaws. These matters are further compounded by sociological and legal technicalities -- such as the prevention of vote-selling and protection from denial-of-service attacks. This talk will address these subjects from a computer science standpoint, focusing on those which are considered to be "hard" (the CS word for "presently unsolvable").  Although these computer systems can not achieve all desired election goals, suggestions will be made regarding design enhancements which, if implemented, could improve these devices to the point where they are almost as good as mechanical lever machines and hand-counted paper ballots.
Department of Mathematical & Natural Sciences, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR, Oct. 26, 2004.

Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, April 23, 2004.

Connecticut-Trinity-Wesleyan Computer Science Consortium, Spring 2004 Joint Colloquium Series, Hartford, CT, April 21, 2004.

Williams College, Class of 1960’s Scholar’s Colloquium, Computer Science Department, Williamstown, MA, November 21, 2003.

University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, Security Seminar Series, Friday, 18 October 2002, 16:00, Lecture Theatre 2, Computer Laboratory, William Gates Building, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, UK. (2002 Michaelmas)

Cryptography and Information Security Group of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, Friday, October 19, 2001, 10:30AM - Noon, NE43-308.

Why Computers Shouldn't Count Votes --

This talk focuses on the technology of electronic vote tabulation and its inherent problems.  Some interim and long-term solutions are suggested.  The lecture contains some technical content, but is accessible to the general public.  The Florida 2000 situation is discussed, along with the Caltech/MIT Voting Project, European electronic voting initiatives, and ongoing US election standards legislation.

Saturday, May 4, 2002, and Saturday, May 5, 2001, Trenton Computer Festival, New Jersey Convention Center.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001, Noon, Delaware Valley Chapter of the Usability Professionals Association, Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services Corporation, Corporate Three Conference Room.

Wednesday, April 25, 2001, Millersville University, Spring Symposium on social and ethical consequences of computing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2001, Noon, Bryn Mawr College, Park Science Center, Room 338. There was a technical follow-up session addressing the computer-science challenges inherent to voting systems on Friday, March 30, 2001, 4:30PM, Park Science Center, Room 338. Abstracts for both talks are available here.

Friday, January 19, 2001, Noon, Penn State Abington, Lares Student Center, Room 108.

Monday, December 4, 2000, 3:30PM, Mendel Science Center, Villanova University.

Thursday, November 16, 2000, 8PM, Princeton ACM / IEEE Computer Society, Sarnoff Center

Vote Early? Vote Often? The Risks of Internet Voting --

Invited Lecture, Foundation for Information Policy Research, Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, October 17, 2002.
Humanizing Voting Interfaces --
Usability Professionals Association Conference, Orlando, FL, July 11, 2002.
Voting in the 21st Century --
CyberCrime 2002 Conference and Exhibition, February 3-5, 2002, Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Mashantucket, CT.

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